The Nap Champ - Benjamin

by Kristi Van Dyk in

So, my not-so-little little man has always loved sleeping. Seriously, from 5 weeks he was sleeping through the night: 10:30 to 7:00 a.m. As he got older he'd go to bed earlier and earlier but keep his wake up the same time. He finally reached his peak at 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. by 3.5 months old. By 4 months he was in a routine - 3 naps a day, no shorter than 1 hour each! He's since dropped the 3rd nap and extended his 2nd nap to be quite long, while cutting his morning nap quite short. I think, if I let him, he'd be content to take one monster nap from 1-4:30 every day. BUT, since I don't want to deal with the terror that happens from 10-11 by keeping him awake, he goes down for at least a little quiet time. What has made me laugh, lately, about Benny is not just the schedule he keeps but his sheer delight at the prospect of getting a nap. Let me explain ...

When we discovered that Ben was naturally a self-soother, that he wasn't going to let Mommy rock him to sleep, ever ... we decided that he needed a routine that include some snuggling. So, at about 3 months old, I adopted a routine. After his diaper change, before I lay him down, I "dance" with him. I hold his right hand in my left and press our cheeks together. I sing to him the same song, "God Bless the Broken Road ..." (Please don't ask me to explain why I chose this one, but I did ... I've tried to justify it over and over but I don't get very far. It was simply in my head the first day I tried this and it's become our tradition). Anyway, we dance through the entire song and then I kiss him on the cheek, place him in the crib, swaddle him tightly in his blanket and hand him his lamby. This lamb has become one of his necessary elements to sleep, much like Kayleigh's blankets. It's ALWAYS his comfort.

Anyway ... as of late, Ben's been adding his own elements to our routine. I know that, after nearly 5 months of repeating this pattern up to 4 times each day, he knows what's going to happen. As soon as he gets off the changing table and sees Mommy heading towards the crib his little arms start flailing and his legs start kicking. By the time I have his hand clasped and my face pressed against his, he's started giggling ... yup, giggling. He snuggles so deep into my shoulder that sometimes I have to push him away. His eyes twinkle and he laughs so hard that he can barely keep his pacifier in his mouth. Before I've even completed the first chorus of our song, he'll start to lean backwards, as if he's pre-emptively laying down. It's difficult to even hold him anymore because he simply can't contain how excited he is to get into bed. When I finally do give in (usually well before we've finished the song), I lay him in the crib, and he stretches all of his limbs out and rubs every bare limb (he usually sleeps pants-less except at night because he does better that way) on his sheets. Then he turns immediately to his right side, fairly "spoons" his lamby and giggles/talks himself to sleep. I never wait more than 10 minutes to check on him, but he's always snoring by then.

I just laugh to myself when I think about how many hours we spent rocking Kayleigh and then teaching her to fall asleep on her own. How many times I tried to get her to follow a schedule (which she HATES breaking now) before it finally clicked ... and here, my second born child (and a busy BOY) giggles his way to sleep.

Thank you Lord for my super happy Nap Champ, Benjamin :) Let his love of sleep continue well into his toddler years :) ...

I realize it's been a while since I've blog posted a picture of my boy, so, here's one of our more recent ones (appropriately in his jammies):

[caption id="attachment_969" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Benjamin and his Christmas Bear from Jillian"][/caption]